Reviewing the Review: Hope Edition


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May 27, 2010 - Vol. 187, No. 15

GENERAL COMMENTS This issue of the Adventist Review contains information about the workings of the upcoming General Conference and the amazing expansion of the Hope Channel’s evangelistic wizardry. There are devotional pieces and a nature story without a happy ending, unless you’re partial to house sparrows. And a letter writer, and Mark Kellner rattle my cage.

WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES In COUNTDOWN TO ATLANTA, we learn how church leaders are elected.

Pacific Union College and Washington Adventist University installed Presidents Heather J. Knight and Weymouth Spense, respectively.

The Church’s risk management unit restructures, and the Riverside, California office is closed. “The plan calls for eliminating the positions and titles of director, associate director, and assistant director.”

Jim Ayer, former drug user, now the vice president for advancement at Adventist World Radio, tells his story in the book, Second Chance.

REVIEWS In his editorial, LOOKING BACK TO THE FUTURE, Gerald Klingbeil writes about what it meant to him, his family, the Adventist Church, and all of Europe, when the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989.

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS by James H. Park discusses the parallel, dual visions of Ananias and Peter in Acts 9 and 10, and his discovery that, “Overcoming the internal barriers in others demands that my own internal barriers also be dealt with by the same Spirit who worked within the hearts of Ananias and Peter. This requires grace, courage, and wisdom. It is a call to deeper personal conversion with our risen Lord that enables us to go and make disciples of all the nations until He comes.”

Andrew McChesney is at it again. If you’re not a subscriber to the Review, you’re missing the adventures of the intrepid Moscow reporter. WHAT’S IN YOUR HANDBAG? is the story of Yelena Verenchuk and the gangster.

“The gangster’s mouth dropped open. For a moment he didn’t say anything. The Kalashnikov, still in his hands, now looked like a child’s plastic toy as he relaxed his grip.”

OPENING THE DOORS OF HOPE is Sandra Blackmer's report on how the church's global TV network reaches millions with a message of hope.

Today, Hope Channel has grown into a 24-7 international organization of 65 media centers throughout the world broadcasting in nearly two dozen languages potentially to about 98 percent of the world population.

The only areas not covered by Hope Channel are Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic portions of Canada, and a slice of West Africa.

Along with English and Portuguese, the network’s major languages include Spanish, German, Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian. It is developing Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern channels 'in the common languages and cultures of those areas, Thorp explains. Other languages, such as Czech, Norwegian, and Bulgarian, have Internet rather than satellite channels.

In MISUNDERSTANDING MEEKNESS Jimmy Phillips makes the case for meekness. “In the heat of battle—whether you’re on the court or in the office—genuine meekness is the personification of true strength.”

Wesley Youngberg explains how DIET, EXERCISE, AND WEIGHT LOSS work together to help us shed extra pounds and live healthier lives.

SHEEP AND THEIR SHEPHERDS by Homer Trecartin is the story of the heartbreak, joy, and selflessness required of all shepherds, and his thankfulness that “we serve a Good Shepherd, One who loves us enough to rescue us again and again without condemning us for what the process has done to Him.”

A BATTLE OF THE BIRDS doesn’t have a happy ending, and Jill Morikone is left to ponder the cruel lessons in nature and the blessing of our Christian hope.

COMMENTS Editors, what is accomplished by publishing inflammatory letters to the editor? In this issue, Frank Hardy likens the “creation/evolution problem at La Sierra University” to holding “a knife to the church’s jugular vein.”

In his editorial, THIS IS NOT “MY” CHURCH, Mark Kellner uses the words, “tropes” and “solipsistic license” in this exercise of sophisticated name-calling.

Kellner creates and condemns the following “straw men”: “Those in the pews. . .who expect, even demand, the church bend its teaching to fit our whims, or the mores of the moment.”

People. . .who claim affiliation with and fidelity to the Seventh-day Adventist Church [and then] turn around and proclaim this church ‘must’ embrace teachings and practices that are at odds with our historic faith and the clear statements of God’s Word.” Members who are busy “junking our core beliefs after a season, to then fit the fashion of the times.” Members that claim “the right to their own facts”.

While it’s true that “for Seventh-day Adventists, our facts and our faith are found in the Bible”, it is also true that there are over 1000 Protestant denominations that also make that claim.

Kellner’s definition of Adventism as “our historic faith and the clear statements of God’s Word” needs some fleshing out if readers are to understand what he means. Is our “historic faith” the 28 Fundamental Doctrines whose authors insisted were not “to serve as a creed, a statement of beliefs set in theological concrete”? Or is he referring to all of Christian history? And to which “clear statements of God’s Word” is he referring? Both Old and New Testament contain clear admonitions that Adventists routinely and rationally ignore.

Kellner ridicules calls for change if, in his opinion, they represent “whims, or mores of the moment”. Should members look to him as authoritative?

In response, I offer the words of Ellen White.

But as the real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received for God’s word and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative and seek to avoid discussion.

The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what.

[Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 706-707 (1889); GW 297, 298; CWE 39]

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.

[Review and Herald, Dec. 20, 1892 (2RH 623:1:1); CWE 35]


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2436